Elana Arian is one of the leading voices in contemporary Jewish music. A composer, multi-instrumentalist, and recording artist, Elana inspires communities across the country with her soulful songwriting and spirit. She recently released her third album of original music - A Spark of Light – a collaboration with Grammy-winning producer, Ben Wisch. Elana has served on the faculty of both Shirei Chagiga in London and the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion in New York, working as a teaching artist in the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music. In addition to her work as a guest Artist in Residence for communities across the United States, Elana spent 12 years in residence in the Friday worship ensemble at Central Synagogue. She has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Tanglewood, and perhaps most memorably, five separate appearances at the (Obama) White House.
Raised on equal parts Mozart, Mingus, and Mitchell, Elana studied conducting and violin, jazz guitar, and songwriting at Yale. Elana has appeared on NPR’s Soundcheck, as well as on PBS’ Finding Your Roots. A sought-after studio musician, Elana also maintains a busy recording schedule (see below), working with such varied artists as Peter Yarrow, the Dirty Projectors, and Catie Curtis. She also held the guitar chair in the smash revival of Sweet Charity starring Tony award-winner, Sutton Foster.
When not performing, recording, or writing, Elana spends her time chasing her daughter, Maya, around Brooklyn with her wife, Julia.
Elana's Extensive work as a studio musician includes:
Dirty Projectors "Slaves' Graves and Ballads" (2004) - violin
The Grey Race "The Grey Race" (2007) - violin
The Grey Race "Give It Love" (2007) - violin
Peri Smilow "Blessings" (2009) - violin, mandolin, vocals
Rose Polenzani "The Rabbit" (2011) - violin, vocals
Steve Krause "Broke Down Beautiful" (2011) - violin, mandolin, vocals
Marika Hughes "The Simplest Thing" (2011) - violin
Olinde Mandell "Love Me Tomorrow" (2011) - violin
Joseph Neal "A Journey to Joy" (2011) - violin, guitar
Simon Beins "Those Kisses" (2012) - violin
Anne Heaton "Honeycomb" (2012) - violin
Steve Kunzman "Back Home" (2012) - violin, mandolin, vocals
Catie Curtis and Friends "A Catie Curtis Christmas" (2012) - violin, vocals
Various Artists "And another song will rise: A tribute to Debbie Friedman" (2012) - violin, mandolin
Noah Aronson "Left Side of the Page" (2013) - vocals
Central Synagogue "Sounds of Shabbat" (2013) - violin, mandolin, guitar
Dan Nichols "Beautiful and Broken" (2015) - violin, mandolin, vocals
Josh Nelson, Dan Nichols, Ellen Dreskin, Rosalie Boxt "So Is Life" (2015) - violin, mandolin
Catie Curtis "While We're Here" (2016) - violin, harmony vocals